Spicified Candid Brothers Portrait at Honeymoon Island State Park

Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 @ f/5.6 ISO 200 1/320th Nikon SB-600 Speedlight on light stand above & to the left

Photographing a portrait session on a beach, even at sunset, can lead to quite a few similar looking shots.  How can you add a little spice to some of the shots?  Topaz Adjust 3 makes it quite easy actually, as it has a "spicify" filter right in it.  I used that filter among others to process the above candid portrait of two brothers who added their own kind of spice to every shot I took of them with their great energy and playfulness.  

Steps for making the above shot: 

  • import RAW file into Aperture 3
  • applying sharpening, exposure & shadow adjustments using the simple sliders
  • use the polarizing filter in Nik Color Efex Pro 3
  • send that image to Photoshop CS4 as a 16-bit TIFF
  • apply unsharp mask at 68%
  • apply the spicify filter in Topaz Adjust 3
  • dodge the boys to make them stand out a little (save file)
  • adjust hue and red channel in Aperture 3, export jpg 

Below is the non-spicified version:

only basic adjustments were made to the RAW file in Aperture 3 for this shot taken at Honeymoon Island State Park

So what do you think of the spicify filter in Topaz Adjust 3?  Did it help or hurt the portrait?  Or did it simply offer an alternative version of a shot?  Please let me know what you think and why in the comments below.